Businesses urged to protect their assets during COVID-19 | #fraudprevention | #corporatefraud | ceo


Though the COVID-19 imposed curfew has done much to curtail the instances of criminal activity, business owners should still take every precaution to ensure their assets, businesses and themselves are protected. 

There is no doubt the pandemic has put an immense amount of pressure on business owners, which may cause things like cybersecurity, physical security and fraud to fall to the backburner.

With the pandemic causing an increase in the use of technology in business and work from home, information on these issues could not come at a more relevant time.

In the eighth episode of COVIDCastJA Business, host Rochelle Cameron, Chief PSOJ AFFP Project Executive delved into how business owners can protect their livelihoods.

The first to join the discussion and bring insight into the importance of maintaining the physical security of a business was Jason Robinson-a Security & Investigations Professional. 

He encouraged businesses owners to identify vulnerable areas in the physical structure of their businesses, then reinforce and secure them as this will act as a businesses’ first line of defence.

Additionally, if the business is located within a plaza surrounded by other businesses, owners could also consider working as a group to collectively protect their space.

One of the more inexpensive suggestions was to liaise with local authorities to understand crime trends in the areas surrounding the business. This would also provide insight into the best methods of protecting a business from external threats.

Moving from external threats into cybersecurity was Stuart Hylton, Manager of Advisory Services at Symptai Consulting Ltd who defined cybersecurity as any type of information security within the internet space.

With many businesses now functioning remotely, day to day business operations have moved online and much more information is being transferred in a digital space. It’s important for businesses to take the time to ensure that their online assets are safeguarded from any possible threat.

To avoid such instances, Stuart urged business owners to be mindful of attempts of phishing and malware. Phishing (which can take many forms) more commonly appears as an email from an unfamiliar or sometimes familiar sender. He advised that users avoid email links and double-check all senders – scammers may use email addresses that seem similar to existing contacts. Malware, he described as viruses on an electronic device.

The best ways to prevent malware is to avoid unfamiliar websites and links, scanning USB drives before using them and, the most popular, using antivirus software. He relayed that there are many types of inexpensive antivirus software to protect online assets and devices and encouraged business owners to explore their options. 

Joining in on the final leg of the discussion was Dane Nicholson, Manager at NCB Fraud Prevention Unit who spoke on the topic of preventing card fraud.

Card fraud can occur in a variety of ways and could take place at a physical location or on the internet. Local fraudsters, he shared, have moved from using the usual black card skimmers and are now stealing and retrofitting point of sale machines issued by banks and turning them in skimmers.

He encouraged card users to be mindful of instances where they are asked to double swipe their cards on two different machines.

One, he explained, could be used to copy card information and pins. Check with managers that all machines are officially being used by the business. They also attack e-commerce sites through malicious programmes called Javascript skimmers which copies card information upon online checkout. He encourages small businesses with e-commerce sites to ensure the proper security protocols are put in place to protect themselves and their customers.

Nicholson advised that putting soft restrictions on cards when asleep or if it goes missing for a short while, will prevent the unauthorised use of a card. He strongly encouraged creating strong passwords that have upper and lower case characters as well as random symbols for online banking accounts. Card users are encouraged to never write down their passwords or pins and to ensure they are able to remember them.

“For your pin, ensure you protect it while conducting business at the ATM or point of sale.” he implored. “Always cover your pin to prevent ‘shoulder surfing’ and monitor card activity and bank statements closely,” he stated firmly. In closing, he encouraged users to ensure banks had users’ updated information so they can be notified and receive regular banking alerts.

In today’s economic climate caused by the pandemic, conversations of this nature could not be more paramount. It is the mandate of the PSOJ’s AFFP to assist small businesses, the backbone of the economy, in coming out of the pandemic strong through access to sound information and advice.

 



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